The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2016

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Page 97 of 132

june 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  97 But the convention's buzz wasn't merely contained to changing ad campaigns and the guy that brought Doogie Howser and Barney Stinson to life. There was also plenty of frothy mojo whipped up at the convention's massive two-day meeting at the San Diego Symphony Hall, where a steady stream of HEINEKEN execs took to the Art Deco stage and delivered the gospel of their eclectic marketing strategy dubbed "The Winning Formula." While the presentation was gussied up by a few more celebrity appearances and an elaborate crowd-wooing magic act, the message each exec delivered clearly communicated why their strategic take on the business of providing pleasure to the masses is so effective. "The Winning Formula has led our port- folio to contain the number one European lager in the world with Heineken, a light beer voted the best-tasting light beer in the country two years straight with Heineken Light and four award-winning cider flavors with Strongbow," said Ray Faust, HEINEKEN's Chief Sales Officer. Heineken emphasized family-first, which was made flesh when Lagunitas Brewing Company's founder and owner Tony Magee jumped on stage to join Heineken CEO Ronald den Elzen. While the burgeoning Petaluma, CA–based craft brewery "married" into the global HEINEKEN brood last October, den Elzen strongly reiterated Magee's presence within the portfolio does not equate to the loss of individuality. "Lagunitas is still going to be its own company," stated den Elzen. "It's important to us that they remain the same as they've always been for the sake of their loyal customers." While the combination of family, liquids and partnerships has equaled noticeable success, the executives made it clear easing up on the gas is not an option. Their desire to push forward was particularly demonstrated by their strategy to pursue arguably the two most coveted markets in the corporate world: Latinos and Millennials. In the case of Latinos, a large part of that marketing strategy involves a massive push of the Tecate label. Already the most preferred beer in Mexico, the company's plans of national brand expansion, label rebranding and a partnership with middleweight boxing star Canelo Alvarez aims to lay the foundation to forge a similar high-level of success domestically. The company's approach to reach Millennials takes the concept of meeting the consumer where they are to its apex. For instance, Dos Equis is parlaying the Most Interesting Man in the World's sojourn to the red planet into an opportunity to relaunch the wildly successful campaign with a fresh face aimed to connect with the new generation of drinkers. Luring the potentially lucrative sector is also the prime mover behind the company's carefully crafted partnership with Major League Soccer; a sports league that's found tremendous success in penetrating the same demographic. The strategy is rounded out by a Heineken ad campaign emphasizing the tales surrounding the bottle, shining the spotlight on the people that turn the beer's simple trio of ingredients into quaffable magic. "Millennials want to hear the real stories behind the brand," Faust stated. "These ads provide a strong sense of authenticity that naturally grabs their attention." That's not to say the company is slacking on cultivating more traditional marketing strategies. Dos Equis' partnership with the flourishing College Football Playoffs ensures the most interesting brand will be showcased in front of gridiron fanatics all season long. The power of the celebrity pitch will also remain strong as ever, with Strongbow, Heineken and Heineken Light being endorsed by Sir Patrick Stewart, Benicio Del Toro and, of course, Harris, respectively. Ultimately, the two days of marketing strategy fortified Heineken's status as a company strongly committed to finding success with their diverse brand portfolio, even in the face of rebooting popular ad campaigns. The Most Interesting Man in the World as we know him may be gone, but HEINEKEN's portfolio still remains endlessly interesting. HEINEKEN CEO Ronald den Elzen talked about the acquisition of Lagunitas Brewing Company last October. Ray Faust, HEINEKEN's Chief Sales Officer, spoke about the company's Winning Formula.

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